ESPN Events: Jimmy V Classic

Stewart, Hartley on Dawn Staley Watch List

February, 5, 2014
Feb 5
On a powerhouse team like Connecticut, there’s bound to be more than just one superstar. This season, Breanna Stewart and Bria Hartley are shining the brightest among a glittering field. They’ve led the Huskies to the No. 1 spot in the nation, with a 22-0 overall record and a 9-0 record in the American Athletic Conference.

In December, UConn picked up a huge 83-61 win over Duke in the Jimmy V Classic. Stewart and Hartley were standouts in that game, and both women have recently attracted national attention.

Stewart and Hartley have been named to the 16-player 2014 Dawn Staley Award Watch List. The Dawn Staley Award was established in 2013 by the Phoenix Club of Philadelphia to recognize the nation’s best guard in women’s Division I college basketball. Given annually, it’s awarded to the player who best exemplifies the skills Staley—a basketball hall of fame player and coach—was known for during her playing career, including ball-handling, scoring, and her ability to distribute the basketball.

Skylar Diggins of Notre Dame was last year’s inaugural winner. The 2014 award will be announced during Final Four weekend, and the award ceremony will take place in Philadelphia in April.

Stewart, a 6-4 sophomore, is averaging 19.5 points and 7.9 rebounds a game. Hartley, a 5-8 senior, averages 15.5 points and 4.8 assists a game.

Auriemma has ninth title in his sights

January, 23, 2014
Jan 23
Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma doesn't feel the need to make a big deal about the number nine and what it potentially means for his Huskies. The eight championship banners hanging above Gampel Pavilion say it all.

Since 1991, when the Huskies made their first NCAA Tournament Final Four, no incoming class has graduated without making it to the final weekend in at least one season. Since 2008, every incoming class has participated in every Final Four, and three times the Huskies have been the last team standing. With all the winning going on in Storrs, Conn. — the Huskies also claim 37 Big East Conference titles (19 regular season, 18 conference tournaments) and a .928 overall winning percentage since the start of the 1994-95 season (.843 in the NCAAs, 91-17) — it might seem like those titles would start to blur together.

Not so. For Auriemma, winning titles is anything but routine. Each title is precious, and every championship team unique.

He recently walked down memory lane – more like a Victory Lane for this coach – with ESPN Events, offering his thoughts on what impressed him about each of his record-tying eight national champions.

1995: 35-0
Final Four: Beat Stanford, 87-60
Final: Beat Tennessee, 70-64
Final Four Most Outstanding Player: Rebecca Lobo

Auriemma: “Intelligence and maturity. That was the most intelligent and mature team I had had up to that point. That team was a very bright group of individuals; more so than you would find on most teams.”

2000: 36-1
Final Four: Beat Penn State, 89-67
Final: Beat Tennessee, 71-52
Final Four Most Outstanding Player: Shea Ralph

Auriemma: “That was the most gifted and deepest team we had up until that point. We had a great combination of talent and experience.”

2002: 39-0

Final Four: Beat Tennessee, 79-56
Final: Beat Oklahoma, 82-70
Final Four Most Outstanding Player: Swin Cash

Auriemma: “That was probably the most complete team. It had no weaknesses whatsoever. In terms of talent and experience, that team was second to none. That team started three Olympians, which is pretty incredible to think about.”

2003: 37-1

Final Four: Beat Texas, 71-69
Final: Beat Tennessee, 73-68
Final Four Most Outstanding Player: Diana Taurasi
Auriemma: (See 2004)

2004: 31-4

Final Four: Beat Minnesota, 67-58
Final: Beat Tennessee, 70-61
Final Four Most Outstanding Player: Diana Taurasi

Auriemma: “That was improbable – 2003 and 2004 kind of run together in that they were built on Diana Taurasi. That was like Larry Bird singlehandedly carrying Indiana State to the Final Four. But ‘D’ went a step further and won the national championship two years in a row.”

2009: 39-0

Final Four: Beat Stanford, 83-64
Final: Beat Louisville, 76-54
Final Four Most Outstanding Player: Tina Charles

Auriemma: “2009 was one of those things where we caught lightning in a bottle that year. Maya Moore was a sophomore. Tina Charles was a junior. We were fortunate that Kalana Greene was back from an injury and Renee [Montgomery] was a senior. Once we ended up getting great contributions from the young guys, everything just kind of came together. We didn’t really know what we had when we started the season but, as the season went on, it turned out that we had something special.”

2010: 39-0

Final Four: Beat Baylor, 70-50
Final: Beat Stanford, 53-47
Final Four Most Outstanding Player: Maya Moore

Auriemma: “To me, 2010 is just an extension of 2009. Those two seasons just ran together as one long season. It was like one long 78-0 NBA season, where we just expected to win every game!”

2013: 35-4

Final Four: Beat Notre Dame, 83-65
Final: Beat Louisville, 93-60
Final Four Most Outstanding Player: Breanna Stewart

Auriemma: “2013 came a little earlier than we thought so I would say it was improbable. We weren’t sure that we were ready but we found ourselves during the month of March. It was like a great horse race for us that year because for three-quarters of the race we were trying to find our stride. Then on March 1 we found it and we did a Secretariat at the Final Four and won going away.”

As the Huskies look for their historic ninth national championship in 2014 and the completion of a repeat for a third time, Auriemma has seen his team overcome some tough breaks. Star forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis missed eight games after suffering a nerve contusion in her right elbow early in the second half on Nov. 11, and her replacement, sophomore Morgan Tuck, has missed 11 games while dealing with right knee issues.

UConn has just rolled on — in Mosqueda-Lewis’ return, in the Jimmy V Classic on Dec. 17 at Duke, she nailed a career-best and team-season-high seven three-pointers – jumping out to the ninth 19-0 start in the Auriemma era. Wednesday night’s decisive 83-49 victory over American Conference rival Memphis (10-8, 3-3) earned Auriemma his eighth 20-0 start. Six times the Huskies have won national championships when starting 19-0. The other times they lost in the Elite Eight (to eventual champion Tennessee) and the Final Four.

UConn has continued to dominate a schedule loaded with challenges and potential pitfalls. Most of the obstacles have come while away from home, as Connecticut took care of business at then-No. 2 Duke at Cameron Indoor, at then-No. 8/7 Maryland, at then-No. 13/15 Penn State, and at then-No. 7/7 Baylor, and at No. 21/RV Rutgers. They still face two matchups with last season’s finalist, Louisville, which is presently ranked in the top 10.

At the end of the day, Auriemma likes his team’s chances of getting title No. 9, thanks, in part, to the experience the Huskies gained in winning No. 8.

“I think winning the national championship last year gave this group a lot of confidence,” he said. “Although there is no guarantee we will win this year just because we won last year, there is a feeling among them that, ‘We’ve done it, so we can do it again.’ ”

Jim Sabiston special to Duke women

December, 13, 2013
There’s no doubting Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie’s competitiveness. And she’ll certainly have her unbeaten and No. 2 Blue Devils ready to face top-ranked Connecticut Tuesday in perhaps the biggest game of the NCAA women’s regular season. But the game still will be secondary for McCallie on this day. See, the heavyweight matchup is part of the Jimmy V Women’s Basketball Classic, and McCallie and her players have learned first-hand what the ugly disease of cancer can take away.

“I don’t like when people overemphasize the wrong things,” McCallie said. “To me, that’s the Jimmy V. It’s not the Duke-Connecticut game. It’s the Jimmy V--first. And I think that’s important to remember, especially for us this year. We learned a lot. We’ve grown up fast.”

For years, Jim Sabiston was a fixture at Cameron Indoor Stadium. He’d sit on the baseline, with his wife, Susan, at nearly every women’s game. A successful businessman in the food service industry, the Vietnam veteran and North Carolina native donated the money so the Duke women could have a new locker room. He also funded the renovations that left the coaches with spacious, state-of-the-art offices.

More important, he got to know McCallie, the rest of the coaching staff and the players. His wife baked cakes and cookies for them. Sabiston would ask about their families, while sprinkling in his desire for better rebounding.

“Jim was one of the greatest people I’ve ever met,” McCallie said.

Sabiston was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma about two years ago. McCallie and players would visit him during his treatment and he would quickly deflect attention away from his plight and toward the players and their season. After aggressive treatment his cancer was in remission, but he couldn’t overcome an infection caused by the disease.

Sabiston died on Sept. 21. He was 66.

“His death was a hard thing for us, especially the older players,” senior forward Haley Peters said. “But I know that we think about him every day. Our goal is to play in a way that would make him proud, to play 'junkyard mean', as he liked to say, and to finish every little thing we do on our terms.”

Sabiston was one of the first people McCallie met seven years ago when she left Michigan State for Duke, calling him someone who “helped us every way he could.”

“I had to speak at that funeral,” she said. “That was really a difficult time for me. I had never done that before. All I can say is that was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

Nearly two months after his death, Sabiston remains on the minds of McCallie and her players. The team is dedicating the UConn game Tuesday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2 and WatchESPN) in his honor. The game serves as a fundraising event for The V Foundation, dedicated to finding a cure for cancer.

“So we’re just so proud to be a part of Jimmy V,” McCallie said. “We all have our stories, and that one is obviously very close to us.”

Duke's McCallie rides wave of success

November, 11, 2013
Duke women’s basketball coach Joanne McCallie isn’t a big fan of monopolies—at least of the one the University of Connecticut has on women’s basketball. “Connecticut has had a monopoly on the market for some time now,” she says. “We have to create a more interesting market. It’s up to us and other teams to enter the fray there and really battle and do what we do.”

McCallie’s course of action won’t include invoking the Sherman Antitrust Act on Geno Auriemma and his squad, but she has implored her second-ranked Blue Devils to take action when they meet the top-ranked Huskies at the 2013 Jimmy V Women’s Basketball Classic on Dec. 17 at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for us,” says McCallie, who is embarking on her seventh season at the helm in Durham, where she boasts a 174-35 record (77-11 in the ACC, 13-3 in the ACC Tournament). “It’s great that teams with such tradition are playing against each other. The environment will be great, and the cause is great.”

The 2013 Women’s Jimmy V will be Duke’s fifth appearance in the tournament, and they are 4-0, including a 76-65 win over No. 2 Tennessee back in 2002, and the thrilling 61-58 win over No. 7 Texas A&M in 2010, the last time Duke hosted a game in the Classic.

McCallie, aka “Coach P.,” has established some great environments in her 21-year career as a coach. Previously known as Joanne Palombo during her playing days at Northwestern (1984-87), where she ranks seventh in school history in assists, McCallie has left a trail of winning programs, as evidenced by her 490-183 record (a .728 winning percentage).

At Maine, she was 167-73 in eight years, and at Michigan State, 149-75 in seven years. McCallie has taken 17 teams to the NCAA Tournament, seven to the Sweet 16, five to the Elite Eight, and one, 2005 Michigan State, to the Final Four and the National Championship game. She also was an assistant at Auburn for four years, where she earned a reputation as a first-class recruiter, and was part of teams that went to back-to-back NCAA Championship games and an Elite Eight.

Coach P. is the first coach to win conference Coach of the Year in four different conferences (ACC, Big Ten, America East and North Atlantic), is one of two coaches to lead two different programs to 30-win seasons, and to lead two different teams to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. She’s also one of only three coaches to get three different schools to the Tournament.

Perhaps as interesting as those figures is the fact that she was unaware of any of those accomplishments. “Wow, those are interesting facts; I never knew some of that stuff,” she says with a laugh. “I’m really fortunate to have had great teams and players and people that have been willing to buy in. I’ve also had great staffs, people that are working with me and are philosophically on the same page.”

Spreading her wisdom also is satisfying. “I love the fact I’ve been at three different places,” McCallie says. “A lot of coaches have been at their school for 25 years or more, the same school. I just think there’s something unique about being at different schools and having success at different schools because it’s tough to start over. It’s hard to imagine that I’ve started over three times.”

Of course, starting over at Duke wasn’t as drastic as at Maine or Michigan State, but to McCallie’s credit, she has not only sustained but built on the foundation she inherited. Under her watch, Duke has gone to seven straight NCAA Tournaments and reached four straight Elite Eights.

Within the ACC, the Blue Devils have had what might be considered a “Connecticut-like” stranglehold, having won four straight regular-season titles and three Tournament titles in four years.

McCallie is wary of the field that is hot on her team’s trail but likes her team’s versatility. “Every year is different and every year is really exciting,” she says. “This year it’s exciting because there are so many different people that can step up and do different things on both sides of the ball. So we have more people that can make great defensive plays, we have more people that can make offensive plays, and there’s a unique versatility about this team. With people playing different positions and being able to be more accustomed to doing that, hopefully defensively we can be a little bit more sophisticated with some of the experience we have returning. So they’re a lot of fun to coach.”

Duke returns all five starters from last year’s team and its top seven scorers, led by junior F/C Elizabeth Williams, and senior guards Chelsea Gray and Tricia Liston, and also brings in the nation’s second-ranked recruiting class.

Possibly the most important returnee is Gray, the All-America point, who suffered a dislocated kneecap last Feb. 17 and missed the Blue Devils’ postseason run that ended in the Elite Eight, with an 87-76 loss to Notre Dame.

McCallie feels the loss of Gray, the 2013 ACC Co-Player of the Year (with Maryland forward Alyssa Thomas) at the end of last season and her return for this one has fueled the Blue Devils. “We do feel like we were robbed of some special time together because that team was beginning to really understand each other and understand the whole process when Chelsea went down,” she says. “You do want to make up for lost time a little bit. You just feel like you missed out. It was unfortunate, but something certainly to motivate for the future.”

That future features the Dec. 17 Jimmy V. Classic match-up with UConn.

Ranked teams reign in early season tournaments

November, 1, 2013
Clear your calendars for Nov. 12, college basketball fans. You’ll want to be in front of your bigscreen when No. 1 faces No. 2 and the No. 4 squares off against No. 5. The State Farm Champions Classic will be a night to remember, and the rest of ESPN Events’ early-season tournaments aren’t bad either. Based on Thursday’s first Associated Press Top 25 poll, seven of the top 10 teams and 11 ranked teams in all will play in these events.

The marquee night is less than two weeks away at the United Center, when top-ranked Kentucky showcases its fabulous freshmen class against No. 2 Michigan State. It will be the first significant test for either team. Kentucky faces UNC Asheville and Northern Kentucky before that. Michigan State opens at home against McNeese State before traveling to Chicago.

And that’s not all. The other part of the doubleheader features No. 4 Duke against fifth-ranked Kansas. Top recruit Andrew Wiggins of the Jayhawks will face No. 2 recruit Jabari Parker. Not bad, eh? Both games will be televised on ESPN.

Here's how the rest of ESPN Events’ early-season slate shakes out:

Seventh-ranked Michigan and No. 14 VCU will play in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Nov. 21-24, with a potential matchup looming in the final. The rest of the field includes Georgetown, Kansas State, Charlotte, Florida State, Long Beach State and Northeastern.

Push away from the Thanksgiving table in time to see No. 8 Oklahoma State and 13th-ranked Memphis play in the Old Spice Classic Nov. 28-Dec. 1. The rest of that event features Butler, Saint Joseph’s, LSU, Purdue, Siena and Washington State. Memphis will play at Oklahoma State in an Old Spice Classic non-bracketed game Nov. 19, and they could meet again in the final.

Memphis isn’t shying away from tough competition. The Tigers will also play No. 10 Florida in the Jimmy V Classic on Dec. 17 at Madison Square Garden.

No. 17 Marquette should be tested in the Wooden Legacy Nov. 28-Dec. 1. Creighton, which received the second-most votes of unranked teams, is also in the field along with Miami, San Diego State, Arizona State, Cal State Fullerton, College of Charleston and George Washington.

No. 23 New Mexico headlines the field in the Charleston Classic Nov. 21-24, joining UAB, Clemson, Davidson, Georgia, UMass, Nebraska and Temple.

Numerical nuggets from the ACC (part II)

October, 15, 2013
Getting hungry for college basketball season? We’ve got some tasty morsels to whet your appetite. As ESPN Events continues to take a look at the different conferences, we’ve put together part two of our peek at the 15-team gauntlet that is the new ACC. With at least one team ranking in the AP’s final Top 10 in each of the past 53 years—last year they had two, No. 5 Duke and No. 10 Miami—the conference added No. 3 Syracuse this year and will add last year’s national champion Louisville next season. Following are some key numbers to consider for eight of the ACC schools. Think of it as an appetizer to what is sure to be a hearty, filling season. Bon appétit! "

North Carolina (25-11, 12-6, 3rd)
Last season’s team-high rebounding (ninth in the ACC) and second-place scoring averages of James Michael McAdoo. The 6-9, 230-pound junior forward, who led the team in scoring and rebounding in nine games, also led the team in steals (1.5 per game, fourth in the ACC and the best amongst returning players). He’s keeping alive a family tradition of excellence, as his second cousin, Naismith Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo, led the team in scoring and rebounding his lone season in Chapel Hill (1972). Led by McAdoo, the Tar Heels will look to continue a trend of 25-win seasons, having done it seven times in the last nine years under Roy Williams. McAdoo and company will be on ESPN as part of the Hall of Fame Tipoff Tournament (Nov. 15 and 17) and will be primetime on Dec. 4 when they travel to East Lansing to play Michigan State as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

NC State (24-11, 11-7, T4th)
The number of returning starters for the Wolfpack. That’s not only saying goodbye to four starters but to 68.2 percent of the scoring and 69.5 percent of the rebounding (including the ACC’s leading rebounder Richard Howell). Fortunately, that one returning starter is 6-8 sophomore forward T.J. Warren. The ACC All-Freshman Teamer scored 12.1 points, second among ACC freshmen, and shot a conference-leading .622, including a team-high .519 from three. Warren, who scored 15 points on a team-best seven field goals in the Pack’s 76-56 loss to Oklahoma State in the final of last year’s Old Spice Classic, became only the fifth freshman ever to lead the ACC in field goal percentage.

^Notre Dame (25-10, 11-7, 6th)
The assist-to-turnover ratio for Notre Dame’s three-guard starting combo of seniors Eric Atkins, Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton. The trio was a big reason Notre Dame led the Big East and finished second in the nation with a 1.49-to-1 assists-to-turnover ratio. Grant is the team’s leading returning scorer (13.3 ppg last season) and is tied in assists (5.5) with Atkins, tops amongst returning players. Connaughton is the squad’s leading rebounder (4.7 rpg). The Irish look to make it five straight NCAA Tournament appearances and seven in eight years, and hope to continue the streak of having played in the postseason in each of coach Mike Brey’s 14 years at the helm. The trio, which combined for 49 points and 15 assists in the 104-101, five-overtime thriller against Louisville last year, can be seen on ESPN in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Dec. 3, when they battle Iowa.

^Pittsburgh (24-9, 12-6, 4th)
The number of consecutive 20-win seasons for the Panthers, who boast a .769 winning percentage in that span (319-96) and are one of seven schools to make it to the NCAA Tournament in 11 of 12 years. The last 10 of those dozen seasons have come under the guidance of coach Jamie Dixon. Last year’s was one of the most dramatic, as they dropped three of their first four conference games, yet still finished 12-6. Ironman Lamar Patterson was a big reason why, and he’ll be big this season. Having made 66 consecutive starts, the 6-5 senior forward is the team’s leading returning scorer (10.0 ppg) and is second in rebounding (4.3 rpg). He showed his stuff in last year’s NIT Season Tip-Off, averaging a team-high 15 points and pulling down 7.5 rebounds. He’s as unselfish as they come, handing out 2.8 assists, and is as secure with the ball, sporting a career 1.81:1 assists-to-turnover ratio. The Panthers will show their stuff in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Dec. 3, hosting Penn State, and will participate in the Jimmy V Classic at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Dec. 17, taking on Cincinnati.

^Syracuse (30-10, 11-7, 5th)
The career point total for Syracuse 6-8 senior forward C.J. Fair. A Second-Team All-Big East selection last season, Fair is one of only three ACC players to start the season with at least 1,000 career points. He was the leading scorer for last season’s Big East Tournament runner-up and Final Four entrant, and his 14.5 ppg last season more than triples the output of the next leading returnee, 6-9 junior center/forward Rakeem Christmas (4.5). His 7.0 rpg also are a team high amongst returnees. The seemingly indestructible Fair played in all 40 games last season and put in 34.8 minutes per game. He and Christmas (1.8 blocks per game) will lead three returning starters and six of Syracuse’s top nine scorers in adding on to the D-I-record 43 consecutive winning seasons. The Orange will be fun to watch and can be seen in this year’s EA Sports Maui Invitational (Nov. 25-27) on ESPN, opening with Minnesota (5:30 p.m. on ESPN2), then, a week later hosting Indiana in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on ESPN.

Virginia (23-12, 11-7, T4th)
The points allowed by Virginia’s smothering defense last season. That led the ACC and ranked fifth in the nation. The Cavaliers held opponents under 60 points 26 times in 35 games in recording back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 1992 and ’93. The Wahoos also return 87.8 percent of their scoring and 86.1 percent of their rebounding, as well as key senior leaders 6-6 guard Joe Harris and 6-8 forward Akil Mitchell. Harris was First-Team All-ACC last year; the only returnee among them, he’s the second-leading active scorer (1,255 points) and was fourth in the conference in both scoring (16.3 ppg) and three-point shooting (.468). Mitchell poured in 13.1 ppg, grabbed 8.9 rpg, and had 12 double-doubles. So, yes, Virginia, ACC title contention is possible. You can check out the Cavs on Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. on ESPN2 when they host VCU as part of ESPN’s 24-Hour Hoops Marathon.

Virginia Tech (13-19, 4-14, 12th)
The free-throw percentage of 6-7 senior forward Jarell Eddie. While the team shot a little over 70 percent for the season, Eddie was the second-most reliable shooter from the charity stripe in the ACC—only Wake Forest’s C.J. Harris (.847) was better. The Hokies had two of the four top foul shooters in the conference, as Erick Green connected at 81.6 percent. Eddie is the leading returning scorer at 12.6 ppg, about half of what Green scored last season in leading the nation in scoring. The Hokies are a host school in the 2013 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic on ESPN, taking on USC Upstate at noon on Nov. 9, and Western Carolina at 7:00 p.m. on Nov. 15. They’ll also take on Michigan State at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., at 9:30 p.m. on Nov. 22.

Wake Forest (13-18, 6-12, 10th)
33 percent:
The percentage of Wake Forest’s losses last year by six or fewer points. That includes one-point losses to Georgia Tech and at Virginia Tech. The Demon Deacons, who also knocked off then-No. 2 Miami, and No. 18 NC State, return four starters, who comprise 70 percent of last year’s offense and 88 percent of its rebounding, the most in the conference. Leading the way is 6-7 senior forward Travis McKie, a two-time Honorable Mention All-ACC performer, and the conference’s active leader in points (1,344), points per game (14.2), rebounds (680), starts (94) and double-doubles (16).

^ 2012-13 record in the Big East

Players, fans brace for new NCAA rules

September, 12, 2013
Do block-charge rulings in college basketball leave you befuddled? How about that confusing elbow rule leading to a number of flagrant fouls? Want to see more replays to make sure calls at the end of the game are correct? Then you should be happy with the NCAA rules changes for coming season, which will get their first significant test during ESPN Events' early-season tournaments.

It all starts in November, with the Champions Classic, Charleston Classic, Puerto Rico Tip-Off, Old Spice Classic, Wooden Legacy and Jimmy V Classic. By December -- when the Diamond Head Classic tips, fans should be well versed on the new rules intended to clear up past problems.

While the rules committee didn't vote on a proposal to reduce the 35-second shot clock, there was a significant change involving the block-charge, considered one of the most difficult calls officials make.

Defensive players will no longer be able to slide into the path of a player with the ball in an attempt to draw a charge once he has "started his upward motion" to pass or shoot. If the player is not set before the player begins that motion and leaves his feet, it will be a block.

The NCAA rules panel believes the tweak will allow more offensive freedom and "enhance the balance between offense and defense."

"We think this will allow the officials to make the call correctly and perhaps increase the scoring," St. Peter's coach and rules committee chairman John Dunne told senior writer Andy Katz.

Officials are also being told to crack down on existing rules for hand-checking and extended arms on defense in hopes of opening up the game. Points per game have dipped in each of the last four seasons. The 67.5 average of a season ago is the lowest since the 1981-’82 season.

Meanwhile, officials will also get more leeway in dealing with elbow fouls. Referees can go to the video monitor to determine if contact was made above the shoulders. If not, the foul can be rescinded. A flagrant foul can also be downgraded to a common foul. Players, however, can still be ejected for what is called a "flagrant 2" foul for intentional elbows landed above the shoulders.

And, get ready for more replay. Officials will now be able to check the video in the final two minutes of regulation and overtime to determine who last touched a ball that went out of bounds and if there was shot-clock violation. This is similar to the current NBA rule.

Referees will also be allowed to check the replay to determine who committed a foul, not just who the free-throw shooter should be. A smaller change will allow officials to stop the game with under four minutes remaining in regulation and overtime to determine if a made shot was a two- or three-pointer, rather than waiting until the next timeout.

There's also a significant rule change in the women's game, which will come into play when Connecticut visits Duke on Dec. 17 in the Jimmy V Classic. For the first time, there will be a 10-second backcourt rule. Previously in women's basketball, teams could keep the ball in the backcourt for the entire 30-second shot clock.

Not only will players have to adjust how they play. You, the fan, will also have to adjust the way you watch.